Google Drive is a free cloud storage service that allows users to store and access files online. Google Drive is a cloud-based storage solution that allows you to store files online and access them from any smartphone, tablet or computer. There are many advantages to using a cloud-based storage service like Google Drive, including: easier file sharing and a remote location to back up your files. But compared to competitors like DropBox and Apple’s iCloud service, Google Drive’s popularity is based on its useful online collaboration tools and built-in integrations with Google products and services.
If you have a Google account, you already have 15 GB of free storage in Google Drive. Now how do you use that storage? Our guide covers all the basics, from how to use Google Drive to upload and access files from any device to all the tools that make collaborating with others a breeze. Google Drive is a combination of web-based productivity tools and a cloud-based file sync service. Basically, it seems to be able to do everything and provide you with one place to store all your files and access them from any device. Each student needs their own Google account to use Drive, which requires an email address.
From there, the user simply clicks the “New” button and selects the file type to create, with the option to load a template for many file types. Documents can be organized into folders and you have complete control over file permissions when sharing a file, including whether others can edit it. Users can also add non-Google files to the free 15GB cloud storage. Files are automatically synced to any device that has the Google Drive app installed.
How does Google Drive Work?
Google Drive allows you to upload and store a variety of file types: documents, photos, audio and video files on Google’s servers or on the “cloud.” Drive can serve as a backup solution or as a way to free up storage space on your device. To understand why Google Drive is so popular, it is important to know that the program works seamlessly with Google.
One of Drive’s best features is its integration with Google’s suite of cloud-native Office applications, which, if you have experience with Microsoft Office, will seem familiar. Most users will gravitate toward these programs, which include Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and others. These programs not only allow you to create and edit documents, but they also have intuitive tools that allow you to collaborate in real time.
Google Drive’s Web Interface
Google Drive’s online design has been improved over the years and is now more intuitive than ever. It is easy to change the view of files to display thumbnails or a list. Creating folders and subfolders to organize files is easy. Other ways to organize folders are color coding and the use of stars. Especially useful is the ability to drag and drop files from the computer to any folder open in the browser to upload them. If you use Google Drive to synchronize files from other devices, you will find them under Computers in the left pane.
Google Drive automatically names them with the device name, but you can rename them however you like. One of the few things that is still cumbersome and complicated in the web app is freeing up space in Google Drive by detecting and removing large and unwanted files, especially files that have been shared with you. Admittedly, since the introduction of Google One, the situation has improved significantly. A user interface now helps you find the cause of an almost full storage space and break down possible problem areas.
Google Drive Features
Google Drive offers a number of file sharing options, all of which are very easy to use. You can share files with other users or groups, or you can get shareable links. You can also specify whether users can edit a file or just view it. The info tab of each file contains a useful overview of the users who currently have access to the file, and you can see who last edited it. Google’s word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation applications – Docs, Sheets, and Slides – are well integrated with Google Drive. You can easily create and open files from the Drive interface.
These are sophisticated applications that can compete with Microsoft’s industry-leading equivalents. Alternatively, you can upload files created with Microsoft software and either easily convert them to Google documents or edit them with Google applications, preserving the file type. Google Drive stores every version of the files you upload, including PDFs and images. From the Drive interface, you can easily access version history and download or restore previous versions of files. A search bar at the top of the Drive interface lets you instantly find the file you’re looking for.
Google offers several options for securing your documents, including various levels of two-factor authentication. For business users, administrators have comprehensive tools to monitor who can access which files and set up alerts for unauthorized access attempts. Your files and folders are stored and transferred in an encrypted format, but the catch is that it’s not end-to-end encryption. This means that Google technicians can decrypt files if forced to by law enforcement, and that makes the system potentially vulnerable to hackers.
Plans and Pricing
Google Drive offers 15 GB of free storage for all new users. However, this storage is also shared with all of your Google services, including Gmail and Google Photos. Fortunately, it’s easy enough to upgrade to a paid plan with your credit or debit card, via a monthly or annual subscription that’s both feature-rich and affordable. The paid plans are all offered under the Google One name. You can get 100GB of storage for $1.99/month or $19.99/year, 200GB of storage for $2.99/month or $29.99/year, and 2TB of storage for $9.99/month or $99.99/year.
It should be noted that Google One is intended for personal use. If you’re looking for a business plan that offers even more storage and features, you can opt for Google Workspace, which starts at $6 per user per month. In comparison, Dropbox offers paid plans for individuals starting at $11.99 for 2 TB of storage and plans for businesses starting at $15 per user per month for 5 TB of storage. IDrive, on the other hand, offers annual plans starting at $59.62 for 5 TB of storage.
There is a comprehensive help center available on the Google website that provides answers to most technical issues that may arise with Google Drive. There is also an active and helpful community forum. With the free plan, it is not possible to contact technical support, but for paying subscribers, Google experts are available 24/7 via live chat, email or phone. The service is generally efficient, and it takes about ten minutes to get connected to an employee.
Google Drive Free Plan
One of the best things about Google Drive is its generous free plan. All Google accounts offer 15 GB of free storage space on Drive. The best part, however, is that all these accounts are equal and there are no restrictions for free users. In the Drive account, Google stores data from the various services you use. This means that Gmail attachments are counted in the Google Drive storage quota. It is also where Android backups are stored, if you want to use this feature. You can also upload photos and videos to Google Drive, even without losing storage space, but we’ll let you in on that little secret later.
Google Drive is free service from Google that allows you to the store files online and access them from anywhere via the cloud. With Google Drive you also have access to free Web-based applications for creating documents, spreadsheets, presentations and more. Google Drive is an extremely popular cloud storage service and one of the most generous free tools on the market.
It is powerful and easy to use, but learning how to use Google Drive can be a daunting task if you are new to cloud storage and have never used competitors such as Dropbox or Box. To help you, we have prepared this beginner’s guide to using Google Drive.